Emerging hotel technology trends are automating and simplifying many tasks in a hospitality professional’s day-to-day life. For instance, cloud technology, big data and artificial intelligence are indeed changing the way we live and work. While there have been many diverse opinions about technology in hospitality industry, we can’t deny the importance of hotel technology when it comes to making lives simpler, convenient, faster and better.
Hotel industry’s trends (when it comes to technology in the hospitality industry) are not just about losing the human touch with robots taking over every task. Quite contrary to popular belief, the latest trends in the hospitality industry is about embracing technology while retaining the one-on-one interactions. Although we have chatbots that converse with users online and cars that are now driverless, the hotel industry is one that thrives exclusively on personal interaction. The requirement here is to enhance the guest experience with the help of hotel technology, which has a direct impact on your hotel’s revenue. One must know how to incorporate technology in the hospitality industry effectively and bring about a massive change to the way we work and also discover new ways to increase hotel revenue.
#TechTalk: How to increase Hotel Revenue using latest technology in hospitality industry?
Regardless of the type or size of the property, increasing revenue is one of the topmost concerns for all hotels. The guests’ demands are ever-increasing, and your occupancy rates are ever-changing with competition on the rise. How can a hotelier, in these circumstances, aspire to increase hotel revenue?
Well, here are a few hospitality trends that might be of help to you in this context.
Smart Rooms, Smart Controls
One of the key factors in guest experience is about digitizing room service to enhance your guests’ stay. For example, allowing guests to set the room temperature using their smartphones enables them to create a perfect ambience that is customized according to their requirement.
A leading hotel brand has used the concept of a virtual concierge that was quick to step up to cater to the guest requirements. Hoteliers who invest to enhance the in-room experience will have happier guests and repeat customers. Interactive walls/mirrors that are gesture-controlled are defining trends in the hotel industry.
The Renaissance New York Midtown hotel, known as New York’s ‘living building’ boasts of interactive corridors that responds to gestures. The hotel also includes interiors that changes according to seasons. This allows guests to place their room service requests, order hotel merchandise and do much more from their room.
Another hospitality industry trend that is one the rise is voice recognition technology. Voice-control for turning on TVs, temperature, drapes, etc. has been adopted by several hoteliers across the globe and is becoming a go-to technology solution for hotels that are looking to invest in guest experience.
You don’t need to implement all of these but it’s wise to prepare now and understand what holds value to meet the expectations set by the guests. Technology in the hospitality industry is constantly evolving and awareness is important to stay ahead of the game.
Adopt Technology for Energy Conservation
Energy management can certainly help hotel owners save massively on electricity bills. The challenge lies in ensuring your use of energy is not eating up into your profits and guest experience is not compromised upon. Although guests want a “green hotel”, luxury is something they cannot forego, and this poses a problem for hotel owners. *According to Booking.com’s ‘Global Sustainable Travel report,’ 65% of global travelers show a strong preference for eco-friendly accommodation. With the help of technology, hotel owners can use this strategy to market their brand and increase revenue using energy-efficient practices.
The correct use of energy with the new technology in hotels such as smart thermostats, LED lighting, ozone water treatments, eco-friendly laundry units that save water, motion sensor lighting systems, energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen area, and more help cut down costs on energy consumption.
For e.g.: *smart thermostats using a guest’s personal device allows a user to adjust temperature with a smartphone even outside the premises. Light sensors that turn on when a guest enters are energy-efficient and create a favorable impression on the minds of the guest.
The HVAC (Heating, ventilation, air conditioning) is another cause of concern for hotel owners as it can cause staggering bills. Ensure you assess your requirements and upgrade the HVAC system that is designed keeping your hotel layout in mind. An appropriate installation will bring in many financial savings for your hotel brand.
The use of intelligent technologies can be a true game changer for hotel owners.
Using Mobiles for Keyless Entry
Another trend in the hospitality industry that is ruling the roost is the use of mobiles to lock/unlock rooms! This is currently an emerging hotel technology trends which is known as keyless entry. A guest can use his/her phone to swipe across the keyless pad which must include the required mobile app to unlock the room. Guests no longer have to rummage through their pockets or bags for cards or keys to unlock rooms. This access is encrypted and is linked to the phone number that belongs to the registered guest. The technology also ensures the room access cannot be transferred to another number or device.
A mobile device has forever changed the way travelers interact online. With mobile bookings on the rise, its dominance is felt in every market. Therefore, any hotelier who is keen on embracing this change and wants to introduce apps will soon see a massive transformation in the way the business functions. Apart from increased revenue, a hotel also has information about the guest. This may not be the case when the booking is made from an Online Travel Agent (OTA).
Automation with Cloud Services
Hotels that have moved to the cloud from on-premise have loads to cheer. If you haven’t already upgraded to the cloud, you would be running high costs on IT maintenance and support. Adoption of the cloud-based technology is on rise globally, across hotels of all sizes. It not only brings down the initial capital investment as compared to the traditional methods, it also gives the required operational flexibility to run your hotel from anywhere, anytime, and within a few clicks.
The importance of a Cloud-based Hotel Technology: Using a cloud-based property management system(PMS) allows you to run your hotel operations, manage reservations, allot room bookings and do much more from a single dashboard. It’s easy to check data, assign duties, manage folios, run your additional Point of Sale (POS) counters and reduce time spent on manual updates.
Integrating a cloud-based PMS improves efficiency of your workforce allowing them to focus on tasks that matter more – guest experience being one of the key areas. It’s easy to register guest details, preferences and much more when you have all the data in a PMS. Besides, it also provides an enhanced level of security. You can automate your business, distribute rooms evenly across OTAs, increase your profitability and make informed decisions about the hotel’s management.
Moving to cloud-based hotel PMS is one of the most-requested tech updates by major hoteliers. If you haven’t made the change, now is the right time.
The Hype around Data
There are huge amounts of data collection happening via mobile bookings, guest reviews, the internet search engines and even a cloud-based PMS as integrated by the hotel. The key here lies in understanding and prioritizing data. Data collected and analyzed properly will help a hotel to boost guest experiences and increase revenues. For hoteliers, being able to store and analyze such huge amount of data enables them to have a competitive edge when it comes to taking vital decision pertaining the business.
“Data” has been a global trend (if not phenomenon) for a few decades now, but with technology guaranteeing us such an exciting suture, it is all the more likely that Data will rule the hotel technology space with more vigor and will remain a hospitality industry trend indefinitely!
The use of predictive analytics is one of the most important trends in the hospitality industry. It provides a sure shot way to increase hotel revenue. Before we proceed, let’s try to simplify this.
What if you could predict which item on the menu card sells faster during the Christmas vacations?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could send tailor-made updates via emails, SMSs to customers based on their preferences? For e.g.: A spa coupon can be targeted particularly for guests who have used this service in your hotel earlier. It empowers hoteliers to make informed decisions by understanding what kind of problems they may face tomorrow.
Investing in the right kind of technology in hospitality industry will help you to be prepared and improve a hotel’s management in all aspects. For e.g. any hotel that includes multiple POS outlets needs to focus on providing a personalized service to their guests. This will ensure you have a higher chance of getting repeat customers.
Any data that helps you to understand a guests’ preference is considered to be the best use of data. Guests are interested in knowing about the choices relevant to them rather than looking at a plethora of choices. Technology will be helpful to suggest which guest is suitable for any specific promotion, offers, and discounts. Usage of this information gives a holistic view into the customer’s requirements.
Hoteliers, marketers, advertisers have been struggling to grab the attention of customers in this competitive market. This is when virtual reality brings a massive change to the way properties are advertised and customers are informed. This is going beyond images, text, and audio-visual ads. You can use virtual reality to give the guest a view of the conference room, amenities, guest rooms and even offer a quick trip to interesting locations nearby.
Virtual reality technology in the hotel industry allows guests to make better decisions by knowing what to expect during their stay. It’s important to use this technology to tell an engaging story to ensure guests enjoy the experience and give preference to your hotel over others.
Chatbots and Robotics
Chatbots feature as one of the continuing hospitality trends when it comes to technology. Chatbots have already taken over the basic tasks that save time and improve efficiency for professionals. Chatbots are helping to enhance communication and provide guests with quick answers to their queries online. The basic questions asked on a hotel’s website such as “What is the menu of the day?” can be answered with the use of chatbots. Chatbots help to automate responses and act as an important channel of communication between the guest and the hotel.
Several hotels the world over have begun deploying robots at their properties. These are useful in various departments such as to play the role of a virtual concierge or even at the front desk. The fascination of robotics continues this year as this largely brings down costs and offers service 24X7. The interaction between the robot and the guests assists hoteliers to analyze cognitive behavior to understand guests’ preferences, and more.
Beacons and Augmented Reality
In the fast-evolving technology landscape, beacons bring with it multiple opportunities to improve revenue and is a popular technology in hospitality industry. These augmented reality technologies are used to communicate with devices such as tablets and smartphones. Beacons are effective in pushing an offer to a customer’s smartphone device for indoor locations such as a hotel lobby. Hotels can use the beacon technology to help guests navigate across the hotel and speed up services for guest requests (e.g. extra towels, or request for food).
It’s also useful to send automatic notifications to a smartphone and personalize services (e.g: notification that enables a guest to control temperature of the room). Other benefits include automated check-in and check-out service and safety maintenance of large hotel premises. Beacons use low-energy Bluetooth connections to send across information to the chosen device such as sending a virtual key that makes unlocking doors so easy with just a smartphone in hand!
Augmented reality is one of the popular hospitality industry trends that is indeed a powerful tool for hotel owners. This technology alters or enhances the way a guest perceives the physical surroundings. Hotel owners can enhance the physical space they are selling with AR. Rooms are now interactive (e.g. guests could use their smartphone to see realistic depictions of celebrities at Holiday Inn.) and guests can even point their smartphones to a map to view information related to local places of interest. The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn (UK) used AR by placing such maps in all its hotel rooms.
This technology can make things a lot easier for hotel owners. While there’s a whole lot of excitement happening around this new technology in hotel industry, experts warn to avoid getting carried away with all the hype. It’s evident the technology has shaken up the system, but the buzz in travel and hospitality continues with big players opting to deploy the use of the same. Nordic Choice hotels are toying with the blockchain distribution idea that may shed light whether this technology will indeed be helpful for the industry.
Simply put, blockchain is a growing list of records. These records, also named as blocks are “transactions” records. The Harvard Business Review defines it as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.”
Blockchain for the hotel industry claims to make this data accessible while providing hotel owners with ample opportunities for their room distribution. This open access distributed ledger of a hotel’s inventory will give the flexibility to hotel owners to discover more options. Faced with the challenge of commissions by OTAs, blockchain brings with it a ray of hope for hotel owners.
Embrace the Hotel Technology Trends
When any new technology in hospitality industry arrives on the scene, it brings with it the need to implement a plan to make your hotel staff comfortable with the changes. Your focus should be on a smooth transition that should make it easy to convey all the changes in the existing system without hampering their daily tasks. Any change is bound to bring about a new set of worries and challenges. This is perfectly natural but should not act as a deterrent for change.
Questions you need to ask yourself:
The use of hotel technology should solve your existing problems, enable you to serve guests better in order to increase revenue. These questions should give you a basic idea of what you need, what to expect and how it can be a game changer.
- 1. Does the new hotel technology reduce workload in different departments?
- 2. Can it help to personalize tasks such as check-ins? Can it enhance the service?
- 3. Does it allow your teams to meet the targets faster, and achieve more in the process?
- 4. Can your housekeeping, front desk, restaurant managers coordinate without the need for constant communication or updates?
- 5. Are the upgrades easily available?
- 6. Does the technology upgrade simplify your daily tasks and add to the bottom line?
Once you understand the requirements, advantages, and the benefits, you will find it easier to integrate new tools and technologies to transform the way your hotel runs. It’s important to have your strategies and plans in place before you make the change.
What according to you is the most important hotel technology that will grab the headlines in the near future? What do you foresee as the future trends in hospitality industry? Drop in your comments below.
"Top 10 Hotel Technology Trends you must tap into",